Bianca Lamb And Her Unstoppable Pastel Death Machine

I've been not writing blog posts while worrying about finishing my next Atomic columns, and not writing my next Atomic columns while worrying about finishing blog posts.

So here are some Fabuland mecha.

Fabuland mecha
(Image source: Flickr user lego_nabii)

Fabuland mecha
(Image source: Flickr user Uspez Morbo)

Fabuland mecha
(Image source: Flickr user Chiefrocker9000)

Fabuland mecha
(Image source: Flickr user lego_nabii)

Fabuland mecha
(Image source: Flickr user Sir Nadroj)

Fabuland mecha
(Image source: Flickr user sirxela)

Fabuland mecha
(Image source: Flickr user mahjqa)

Fabuland mecha
(Image source: Flickr user ToT-LUG)

8 Responses to “Bianca Lamb And Her Unstoppable Pastel Death Machine”

  1. Popup Says:

    What's with those animal minifigs? Are they Lego™?

  2. Itsacon Says:

    They're Fabuland. A discontinued Lego line positioned somewhere between Duplo and `normal' Lego in the age-range.

  3. dan Says:

    ...and, along with the "Scala" range, Lego's first attempts to make Lego For Girls(TM).

    Every few years they try it again; click here for the puketacular current version!

    (I haven't conversed with many small girls about this idea, but those I have polled have expressed the opinion that since you can make a doll-house out of a Lego castle kit if you want to, pink and purple pieces hold little extra interest for them.)

  4. Tilendor Says:

    Lego took a very different approach to how they created their new Friends line. Here's a news article that explains it fairly in depth:

    A couple notable points about what they did to come up with this new line. They had lego employees observe girls playing over a long period of time, to find out what they enjoy.

    They found out that girls hate the iconic mini figure:
    "The company was surprised to learn that in their eyes, Lego suffered from an aesthetic deficit. “The greatest concern for girls really was beauty,” says Hanne Groth, Lego’s market research manager."

    Another interesting quote:
    "Lego confirmed that girls favor role-play, but they also love to build—just not the same way as boys. Whereas boys tend to be “linear”—building rapidly, even against the clock, to finish a kit so it looks just like what’s on the box—girls prefer “stops along the way,” and to begin storytelling and rearranging. Lego has bagged the pieces in Lego Friends boxes so that girls can begin playing various scenarios without finishing the whole model. Lego Friends also introduces six new Lego colors—including Easter-egg-like shades of azure and lavender. (Bright pink was already in the Lego palette.)"

    Lego spent years looking into this new line of toys, doing global research to find out what girls value. Its a lot different than previous approaches that were much smaller scoped.

    I've got a friend who bought his girl a few sets and she absolutely loves them.

    I'd give this new set a second look.

  5. dan Says:

    I've got a friend who bought his girl a few sets and she absolutely loves them.

    ...and I'm sure that entirely explains your, uh, press-release quoting, there.

    Look, I'm not against Lego making stereotypically girly stuff if they want to. It's just that they've done it before, always with these sorts of straight-faced justifications ("girls like jewellery, too! I know, let's make a Lego jewellery line! I'm sure it''l be a HUGE hit!"), and it's never really seemed to achieve anything.

    Well, except adding yet more "gendered" toys to a world in which every toy shop already has The Pink Aisle For Girls and The Gun Aisle For Boys. The Pink Aisle already contains a whole lot of dolls in every shape and size; I am uncertain of the need for special Lego-branded ones, even if their bottoms do have holes for studs in them.

    (That came out wrong.)

    At least the "Friends" sets don't seem to have too many weird special-purpose pieces that don't connect to anything else. But that only emphasises the line's pointlessness. They're normal Lego in Pink Aisle colours with somewhat larger girly pseudo-minifigs whose legs are stuck together so they can't be posed as if they're walking anywhere. The sum total of their achievements against this alleged "aesthetic deficit" is big hair, lots of pink and purple, and happy rainbow unicorn star stickers. Just like everything else in the Pink Aisle.

    So I really don't see the Unique Selling Point, here, breathless press releases and alleged market research notwithstanding. I don't think "Friends" is a terrible blow against feminism, or anything, but I do think it will go down in Lego-nerd history as another of the company's occasional misjudgements.

    • xrror Says:

      The thing is, and I wouldn't have believed this myself except I saw it happening... I actually saw girls (not my own) in a store dragging their mothers into the toy aisle to try and get some of the Friends sets.

      That to me was amazing. I was ecstatic when my daughter showed interesting in getting more - and not prompted by me. Anything that be a bridge for my inner Lego nerd + family time is epic win for me.

      And like you said, I'm so happy that the parts are normal legos (and in fun colors... er colours).

      I also find it hilarious that the one guy figure looks like David Duchovny.

      Now to avoid my rant on how Technics sets should go back to using normal stud beams instead of the smooth and about impossible to modify smooth "bend beams" or whatever they are...

  6. Tilendor Says:

    Ok, you got me. I just gave a testimonial, which cannot be considered proof of anything on its own, after reading your site for so long, I should have known better.

    I've been a long time Lego fan(boy?), and have a decent collection. I've been following Lego's progress for quite a while, and I totally agree with your assessment of POOPy pieces and various misjudgments in that era. But I also have read alot about the current CEO and what hes done to turn around the company and return to the roots what makes Lego Lego.

    From some of your comments it doesn't look like you read my link. It was an article in Business Week, not a press release. You also say "alleged market research". I haven't hit up the company's financial records, but if they say they've been doing in depth global research for 4 years, I don't see why I can't trust that. Especially when they did something similar in the early 2000s to revitalize their product offering and return to their roots.

    Lego has been criticized for making "Another Pink Toy" with this Friends line, and this line is definitely taking on the stylings of The Pink Toy aisle. Part of it is that girls are TOLD what the toys they should play with should look like (commericials, parent's gift choices, etc...). Lego wants to involve more girls with its products. At the end of 2011, 9% of lego sets were sold to boys, and legos have long had a boy bias(its found in the Blue Aisle).

    Lego did match the color scheme of the Pink Aisle, but they also delved a lot deeper into the psychology of how girls play. Where boys often like to focus on play as mastery( follow the instructions, build the model quickly), girls like to focus on roleplay. They would stop in the building process to begin a story or a narrative. Lego designed the sets with self-contained sub-sets that easily fit with this play-style.

    Part of this is conforming to gender stereo types, but the other is that girls ARE fundamentally different than boys. You dismiss the new mini-fig for being less functional and being another doll, but girls like to project themselves onto the thing they are playing with and the old mini-fig really interfered with that.

    Since the launch of Friends, the share of sets bought for girls has grown from 9% to 27% and Friends sales are double what Lego Expected

    The things you dismiss about the Friends line seems to be the very things that are different between boys and girls. I don't know if those numbers are just a fad, or if Lego is really on to something here, but it is showing promise.

    So keeping this xkcd comic in mind, I'll shut up now ;)

  7. TwoHedWlf Says:

    The last one needs a caption, "Lambchop is going to make that damn song end."

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